Don't conflate the set of all tuples of arbitrary length with points,

which have fixed length. Points are not *sequences* -- in Python, we

treat tuples as sequences first and records second, because that is a

useful thing to do. (But it is not the only useful thing to do: if we

treated them as records first and sequences second, we might want to say

that a tuple t was falsey if all the fields in t were falsey.)

In the case of a Point class, a Point is definitely not a sequence. That

we put the x-coordinate first and the y-coordinate second is a mere

convention, like writing left to right. The mathematical properties of

points do not depend on the x-coordinate coming first. Since points

should not be treated as sequences, the requirement that non-empty

sequences be treated as truthy is irrelevant.

You were right the first time, Chris. A point that happens to coincide

with the arbitrarily chosen origin is no more truthy or falsey than any

other. A vector of length 0 on the other hand is a very different beast.

Nonsense. The length and direction of a vector is relative to the origin.

If the origin is arbitrary, as you claim, then so is the length of the

vector.

Just because we can perform vector transformations on the plane to move

the origin to some point other that (0,0) doesn't make (0,0) an

"arbitrarily chosen origin". It is no more arbitrary than 0 as the origin

of the real number line.

And yes, we can perform 1D vector transformations on the real number line

too. Here's a version of range that sets the origin to 42, not 0:

def myrange(start, end=None, step=1):

if end is None:

start = 42

return range(start, end, step)

Nevertheless, there really is something special about the point 0 on the

real number line, the point (0,0) on the complex number plane, the point

(0,0,0) in the 3D space, (0,0,0,0) in 4D space, etc. It is not just an

arbitrary convention that we set the origin to 0.

In other words: to the extent that your arguments that zero-vectors are

special are correct, the same applies to zero-points, since vectors are

defined as a magnitude and direction *from the origin*.

To put it yet another way:

The complex number a+bj is equivalent to the 2D point (a, b) which is

equivalent to the 2D vector [a, b]. If (0, 0) shouldn't be considered

falsey, neither should [0, 0].

The significance of zero in real algebra is not that it is the origin

but rather that it is the additive and multiplicative zero:

a + 0 = a for any real number a

a * 0 = 0 for any real number a

I'm not sure what you mean by "additive and multiplicative zero", you

appear to be conflating two different properties here. 0 is the additive

*identity*, but 1 is the multiplicative identity:

a + 0 = a

a * 1 = a

for any real number a.

If the RHS must be zero, then there is a unique multiplicative zero, but

no unique additive zero:

a * 0 = 0 for any real number a

a + -a = 0 for any real number a

The same is true for a vector v0, of length 0:

v + v0 = v for any vector v

a * v0 = v0 for any scalar a

Well that's a bogus analogy. Since you're talking about the domain of

vectors, the relevant identify for the second line should be:

v * v0 = v0 for any vector v

except that doesn't work, since vector algebra doesn't define a vector

multiplication operator.[1] It does define multiplication between a

vector and a scalar, which represents a scale transformation.

There is however no meaningful sense in which points (as opposed to

vectors) can be added to each other or multiplied by anything, so there

is no zero point.

I think that the great mathematician Carl Gauss would have something to

say about that.

Points in the plane are equivalent to complex numbers, and you can

certainly add and multiply complex numbers. Adding two points is

equivalent to a translation; multiplication of a scalar with a point is

equivalent to a scale transformation. Multiplying two points is

equivalent to complex multiplication, which is a scale + a rotation.

Oh look, that's exactly the same geometric interpretation as for vectors.

Hardly surprising, since vectors are the magnitude and direction of a

line from the origin to a point.

The relationship between points and vectors is analogous to the

relationship between datetimes and timedeltas. Having Vector(0, 0)

evaluate to False is analogous to having timedelta(0) evaluate to False

and is entirely sensible. Having Point(0, 0) evaluate to False is

precisely the same conceptual folly that sees midnight evaluate as

False.

If you are dealing with datetimes, then "midnight 2012-11-12" is not

falsey. The only falsey datetime is the zero datetime. Since it would be

awfully inconvenient to start counting times from the Big Bang, we pick

an arbitrary zero point, the Epoch, which in Unix systems is midnight 1

January 1970, and according to the logic of Unix system administrators,

that is so far in the distant past that it might as well be the Big Bang.

(People with more demanding requirements don't use Unix or Windows

timestamps for recording date times. E.g. astronomers use the Julian

system, not to be confused with the Julian calendar.)

The midnight problem only occurs when you deal with *times* on their own,

not datetimes, in which case the relationship with timedeltas is not

defined. How far apart is 1:00am and 2:00am? Well, it depends, doesn't

it? It could be 1 hour, 25 hours, 49 hours, ...

In any case, since times are modulo 24 hours, they aren't really relevant

to what we are discussing.

[1] There is no single meaningful definition of vector multiplication

that works for all dimensions. In two dimensions, you can define the dot

product of two vectors to give a scalar; in three dimensions you have a

dot product and a vector product.

Since vectors are equivalent to points, and points are equivalent to

complex numbers, one could define a vector operation equivalent to

complex multiplication. There is a natural geometric interpretation of

this multiplication: it is a scaling + rotation.